SUBJECT: Welcome Back - Winter 2022

SUBJECT: Welcome Back - Winter 2022

Dear Colleagues;

Happy New Year and welcome back to campus and the winter semester! I hope you had a restful and fun break and were able to relax and enjoy the holiday season.

Once again we are starting another semester facing the concerns and challenges of COVID and its variants. A rise in cases due to Omicron, decisions to close schools and universities or to keep them open, and strains on our healthcare system all weigh very heavily on our minds. University of Michigan, including our Dearborn campus, has made the decision to continue to provide as much in-person learning as is possible for the reasons detailed in Chancellor Grasso's email from Tuesday 1/4/2022. I assure you that this decision was not made lightly or without substantial input from Michigan Medicine and an assessment of our past and current data. I send this message with some particular points of information specifically targeted to the work of classroom teaching and the concerns you may have as instructional faculty.

First, I recognize that the rise in cases due to Omicron may translate into disruptions in class attendance and the need to provide some students with remote or asynchronous options for remaining in good academic standing. Department chairs, associate deans and deans are all aware of this additional work for faculty and are available for counsel and advice on how best to provide it equitably and reasonably for you and your students. In addition, the Dean of Students, Amy Finley, has proven time and again to be an excellent partner to faculty and a liaison and resource for student concerns. Please reach out to these administrators to work through the particular questions or concerns you may have about how to manage attendance or learning disruptions that may arise in your courses. As our faculty have already proven, remaining flexible and understanding with regard to students’ needs and concerns means so much to their success and retention and in maintaining a community of care.

Second, in an effort to keep you all informed of the important messaging going out weekly to students, Dean Finley will share the Sunday all-student email with faculty during the months of January and February (and further if needed). This weekly message with high priority student items has an average open rate of over 60%. By keeping faculty apprised of the important information shared with students, we can keep a consistent and collective eye on additional needs.

Third, the Office of Academic Success provides a variety of services to support student success. These include the Math Learning Center, the Science Learning Center, the Writing Center, Supplemental Instruction, and 1:1 Tutoring. All of these services have in person and virtual options available for students. Be on the lookout for a followup message from Jess LaGrange to request brief, beginning of the semester classroom visits about these resources for your students. You can also make a virtual appointment with one of our instructional designers at the Hub for Teaching & Learning and subject-specialist librarians in the Mardigian Library are available to partner with you to create subject-specific course research guides, and provide research support for assignments and course projects.

Finally, a reminder that the use of Canvas in your courses for assignments, grades, discussions, and overall classroom management is the best platform we have to support in-person or remote learning and one that students want and need for their success. Please make good use of Canvas modules and features to keep your students connected and engaged.

I want to wish you a smooth transition to the winter semester and a very successful term! Stay well and healthy, and please let me and my team know if you have any questions.


Gabriella Scarlatta
Interim Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Office of the Provost

1080 - Administration Building
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn, MI 48128
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Phone: 313-593-5030